Mystery Wood - new wood source?

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Hi there, the wife and I were at one of these scratch and dent furniture warehouses, and I saw a bunch of table tops stacked in a corner, I asked and they were going for $40 each. Well I found one that was two 34"x44" sections with 2 15" leafs, plus a bunch of the support/trim pieces. It was definatly solid wood, but had some pretty thick cherry stain on it, so I couldn't exactly tell what it was, but I went ahead and got it, figuring it was a steal just for the wood.
Got it home, unscrewed all the hardware and trim pieces, took the belt sander to a piece, and here's what it looks like:
http://home.houston.rr.com/dmcneal/wood.jpg
The flash made it look redder than in real life, the bottom pic is without the flash and pretty close to the true color of the wood.
I'm no wood expert, and I'm pretty new to woodworking, I've only worked with Red Oak, Poplar, and Mahogany before. I'm pretty sure it's not cherry, I'm thinking alder or maybe ash, any expert opinions?
Anyway, this stuff is about 15/16" material, and I was planning on using it for the face frame and raised panel doors for a computer armoire I'm building out of birch ply. Any catches to look out for? The whole thing will be stained, so I think I can get the woods to match. Anyone ever make doors thicker than 3/4"? I don't have a planer, so I'm planning just to use it as is after it's stripped and sanded. I'll just have to custom do the rails and stiles, which I was planning on anyway because I don't have a heafty enough router, and don't want to shell out the bucks for an expensive rail/stile bit set anyway.
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(Dan) wrote:

It is definitely *not* ash.
Actually, my first thought is cherry. Could be birch, too, I suppose -- kinda hard to tell from a photo. One test you could try: mix up a weak solution of lye (1 teaspoon of Red Devil lye from the hardware store in a pint of water) and wipe a bit of it on a corner of the board. If it turns a deep red-brown within a few seconds, it's cherry.

Yeah - the grain in the piece in the photo isn't straight enough to use for door frames. It's likely to twist, and rack the doors. I hope the rest of the pieces have straighter grain. Anyway, you should select the pieces with the straightest grain for your door frames and face frames.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in message

Right. Ash is close enough to oak you can mix them and most folks won't notice.
It looks like maple to me, could be birch. To my eye the grain in maple and cherry is very similar, it's the color that sets them apart.

IME sugar maple turns sort of olive with the lye treatment.
--

FF

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(Fred the Red Shirt) wrote:

Hmmm.... never tried that. Could have interesting ornamental uses, I suppose. Thanks for the idea!
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
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I would say it's probably maple or birch. Hard to believe that they would use real cherry. Another possibility is beech. I've got about 800 bf of beech that was cut off of my property and the grain pattern is surprisingly similar to maple. It also has a wide range of color from mahogany color to white/blond like ash to a medium chocolate color like pecan. The resolution on the photo was not high enough but if it has little brown flecks in the grain then I would lean towards beech.
Jswee
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Ok here are the results of the lye...well I actually couldn't find just lye at the Walmart, HD, or Ace Hardware stores around here, so I settled for some Liquid Drain Cleaner that had only Sodium Hydroxide listed under the "Contains" warning. Anyway here's what happened:
http://home.houston.rr.com/dmcneal/lyetest1.jpg
Looks like it may be cherry after all!!! After the fingernail test, it's just about as hard as oak, maybe a touch softer, pretty much the same as mahogany, but not nearly as soft as poplar, much less pine.
I went ahead and tried the same thing on some other scraps, here are those for reference:
http://home.houston.rr.com/dmcneal/lyetest2.jpg
This is Birch Ply, ?Cherry?, Red Oak, and Mahogany. These were taken about an hour after the lye treatment. Seems to of just turned the Birch and Oak greyer, and the Mahogany much darker...kind of cool, but I really liked the look of the mystery wood, maybe I don't want to stain it after all. Any tips on making birch plywood match cherry?
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Dan, at first glace the pic with the flash makes the wood look like ceder but I doubt that's correct. The image without the flash appears to look like a variety of woods i.e. juniper, ash, pine, and possibly oak. How hard does the wood feel to you? Hardness will be a good clue to narrow down the possibilities.
Mike
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Dan) wrote in message

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(Basspro*) wrote:

Naaah. Color is all wrong for juniper, pattern is all wrong for pine, and the grain is nowhere *nearly* open enough to be ash or any type of oak.
This is clearly a close-grained wood. Possibly cherry, birch, or maple, possibly something else altogether -- but definitely not ash or oak.

-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
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Doug Miller writes:

Correct there. As someone else suggested, try the ly test for cherry. If it's not cherry, odds are excellent it's alder.
Charlie Self "To create man was a quaint and original idea, but to add the sheep was tautology." Mark Twain's Notebook
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme says...

And if you don't want to fool around with lye, alder is a lot softer than cherry - try to dent it with a fingernail.
BTW, I live in the northwest and alder is one of my favorites - but not for horizontal surfaces.
Of course, I could always coat it with epoxy :-).
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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On 29 Jan 2004 14:55:17 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

maybe red birch.
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<the grain is nowhere *nearly* open enough to be ash or any type of oak.>
Many oaks do not have an open grain. Look at white oak for instance. Very tight grain. I agree with everything else you said though such as the wood being birch or possibly cherry (after completing the lye test).
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(Basspro*) wrote:

Perhaps "open" was a poor choice of words; maybe "coarse" would have been more appropriate. In any event, the wood in the picture doesn't have even the _remotest_hint_ of similarity to *any* type of oak or ash.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
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snipped-for-privacy@cox.net says...

Is it possibly an import? I have a kitchen table that is solid wood that looks similar to the wood shown that is an import from the far East.
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snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Basspro*) wrote in message

Dude. seriously. how could you possibly look at that board and think oak or ash? my money is on cherry. i'll be anxiously awaiting the outcome.
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remodguy states:

Or cedar. My money is on cherry or alder.
Charlie Self "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." Mark Twain http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Tough to tell with out a better picture but considering the source and price I'd lean towards rubber wood rather then a domestic hardwood.
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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I vote for alder. If so it is lighter (weight) and softer than poplar. It is not ash.
--
Alan Bierbaum

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I'm surprised no-one else picked it - it's fruitwood.
Greg
<G>
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brought forth from the murky depths:

We could tell that immediately...by the guy taking a freakin' BELT SANDUH to it.
"Finesse" it ain't.
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